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Argentine Antarctica
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: En Unión y Libertad
Anthem: Argentine National Anthem
Status Department of the Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Provincemarker
Official language Spanish
Capital None
Area 965,597 km²
Population 165 (winter)-300 (summer)
Currency Argentine Peso
Argentine Antarctica ( ) is a sector of Antarcticamarker claimed by Argentinamarker as part of its national territory. The Argentine Antarctic region, consisting of the Antarctic Peninsulamarker and a triangular section extending to the South Polemarker, is delimited by the 25° West and 74° West meridians and the 60° South parallel. Administratively, Argentine Antarctica is a department of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islandsmarker. The provincial authorities reside in Ushuaiamarker and the Governor annually designates his or her delegate for the Antarctica region. The "civil power" of any of the administrators extends no further than that nation's own bases.The Argentine exploration to the continent started early in the 20th century. José María Sobral was the first Argentine to set foot on Antarctica in 1901, where he spent 2 seasons with the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Doctor Otto Nordenskiöld. Shortly afterwards, in 1904, the Orcadas permanent basemarker was already fully operational. Years later other bases would be created, some permanent and others seasonal. The first Argentine expedition to reach the South Polemarker was the 1965 Operación 90.

Argentine bases

Esperanza and Marambio are the biggest Argentine bases, holding together 70 buildings, an average of 110 people during the winter, and over a maximum of 250 during the summer. Orcadas Basemarker, located at the South Orkney Islandsmarker off of the Antarctic mainland (see map, right), was the world's first base in the Antarctic region, operating continuously since 1903. The southernmost Argentine permanent base is Belgrano IImarker, at over 77 degrees south. The southernmost summer base is Sobral, at from Belgrano II.

The bases are supplied by the ships: Puerto Deseado, Suboficial Castillo, and Almirante Irizar, and by C-130 Hercules and DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.
Watercraft in Hope Bay, Antarctica.
Argentine bases on the Antarctica (permanent bases in red).
The Icebreaker Almirante Irizar, the principal supply line for Argentine bases in Antactica since 1978.



Camps and other

(64 in all)
  • Base Alférez de Navío Sobral (1965) , Edith Ronne Land
  • Campamento Byers , Byers peninsula
  • Estación Científica Ellsworth (ex USAmarker) (1958) , Weddell Seamarker
  • Base Gurruchaga , Nelson Island
  • Campamento Científico Livingston , Livingston Island

Argentine claim

Caterpillar tractor from the first Argentine expedition that reached the South Pole (1965)
Argentina with all the territory claims

According to historical claims, the Argentine presence in the section began during the first decade of the 20th century; though some even affirm that it took place by the end of the previous century. However, navigators from other countries claimed the discovery of Antarctica for themselves. By the end of the 20th century the aid lent by Argentina to foreign expeditions, in particular that of Nordensöld, Gerlache and Charcot, was properly appreciated. This included the assignment of Argentine place names to Antarctic geographic features, such as the Argentine Islands, Uruguay Islands, General Roca, Quintana, and others.

In 1904 the permanent occupation began with the opening of Orcadas Basemarker on Laurie Islandmarker just off the Antarctic mainland. Argentina was the only nation to have an Antarctic base for 40 years until the Britishmarker built a base on the same islands.

Argentina bases its claims on this sector of Antarcticamarker on the following grounds:
  • The Antarctic peninsula is geologically and geographically part of the Andes.
  • Argentina has maintained a permanent occupation for more than a century, and controls the oldest base in Antarctica (Orcadas Station on Laurie Island).
  • Argentina conducts many rescue missions in Antarctica.
  • Argentina has constructed lighthouses and other navigational aids in Antarctica.
  • Argentina constructed Antarctica's first airport in 1969
  • Argentines form more of Antarctica's peninsula's population than nationals of any other country.
  • The first Antarctican was born in Esperanza Base (Hope Base), namely Emilio Palma.
  • Argentina has sent more people to Antarctica than all the other countries together.

Argentina's claim to the Antarctic Peninsulamarker overlaps with the Antarctic claims of Chile, 53°W to 90°W, and the UK claims, 20°W to 80°W, and is not recognized by most other countries. See List of Antarctic territorial claims.

Currently, there are no attempts by Argentina or any other country to actually enforce territorial claims in Antarctica.


In 1978, the first Antarctic baby was born in the Fortín Sargento Cabral at the Esperanza Base under the name Emilio Palma. In 1991 there were 142 "permanent residents" including 19 minors. "Residents" are families that live in Antarctica or scientists that have lived for more than two years. They were 121 men and 21 women that lived mostly in the colony of Esperanza and other bases. As of 1998-1999, Argentine Antarctica had a winter population of 165.

See also


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